On April 17, I will be running for a seat on the Jersey City Board of Education with Vidya Gangadin and Sangeeta Ranade. I am running for this seat because I believe I can effectively use my nearly 32 years of experience in the Jersey City Public Schools to work toward creating positive change in our schools.
The lives of many young people are affected when the schools fail to offer them an education that teaches them the skills they need to successfully enter college and the workplace. As a teacher, it is very difficult for me to see the loss of potential in the students who drop out of our schools because they are not able to meet the demands of the high school curriculum. It seems that our teachers are blamed for everything that doesn’t go well in a school district. Actually only a small percentage of teachers are uncaring– just as in any profession, but in working with teachers in the Jersey City Public Schools I found the overwhelming majority of them are dedicated to their students. They are willing to help a child, spend their own money to buy supplies when what they want is not available and will collect and buy clothing when a child doesn’t have the essentials.
I came to realize very quickly that they are the greatest asset this district possesses. We need to treat them as professionals and make them part of the process in making our schools successful, because many of them know what is needed, such as a clinical supervisory model that will help them plan and execute their lessons and offer ongoing professional development that teaches diagnosis of skills while taking into account student learning styles and generally broadening the scope of the curriculum to give the students a broader based education.
Some of the methods now used do not offer the best instruction to students and limit their ability to explore their interests and use their minds in creative and innovative ways. That method is probably the least effective way to teach and many of the teachers I have spoken with agree that they would like to expand the curriculum to offer students a fuller educational experience. They need to be supported with materials and activities that bring the curriculum to life. All of that takes a commitment by the district to work with their teachers to make school an interesting and innovative experience for our children.
Should I be elected, I look forward to working with our school personnel to change our schools into places where children are excited to come each day, where they gain enough skills to stay and graduate and where they will feel comfortable coming back to share their knowledge with the next generation of students.